Picture this: you just found out that your competitor’s website ranks higher in Google than yours. Though you worked really hard optimizing your website, but still, it’s not in the first page of Google.
Wondering what exactly went wrong?
Well, the answer lies within Google’s algorithm. That’s because Google’s algorithm constantly changes, and thus, content requirements also change. It analyzes over two-hundred ranking factors. Based on that, the algorithm examines the quality of your website and decides accordingly where it should be ranked on Google’s page.
As a website owner, it’s a tough job to understand these ranking factors. Plus, it’s hard to know how to align your website with these factors to maximize the rankings. This is one of the reasons why a lot of business owners rely on SEO professionals to get the work done.
However, you should still have the know-how of what Google’s updated algorithm has for your website and how to incorporate the newer components of this algorithm into your website’s ranking. The good news is that you can learn about the content requirements recently updated by Google. Once you know about these, you’ll be able to tailor content accordingly to attract potential customers to your website.
Wondering where to start off?
Let’s dive in and explore.
How to Rank Your Website according to Google’s Updated Content Requirements
As mentioned earlier, Google’s algorithm consists of a list of two-hundred ranking factors. This means exactly two-hundred content requirements to be followed by all those who want to see their website ranking on the top page of Google! But that doesn’t mean you should follow all these factors.
To make it easier for you, we studied these factors and selected ten content requirements that are really worth implementing. These ten requirements are highly crucial for increasing your website’s ranking.
Let’s have a look at each one of them in detail.
1. Content is (and will always be) king
What’s the first thing that you see when you visit your own website?
If you said, “text,” “words,” “text with images,” or “video,” you actually mean “content.” And that’s what you actually see. That’s exactly what your website’s visitors see after visiting your website.
Danny Sullivan, Google’s public Search Liason, has expressed his thoughts about content in a similar way, “better content leads to higher rankings.”
Content is the most powerful tool that can attract your customers to your website. Therefore, it’s worth saying the content is here to stay. It’s worth investing your time and efforts in improving your website’s content on a continuous basis. That’s especially true if your business is linked with the medical industry or any other industry that demands detailed, specific content.
Here’s how to ensure that your content fulfills Google’s algorithm:
Build trustworthy content by including author names and biographies
Gone are the days when readers used to trust just any website. People are now searching for relevant, trustworthy content that’s written by an authoritative person – someone who has expertise in their particular industry. We’re talking about “Expertise – Authority – Trustworthiness” (E-A-T). This is especially true when writing blog posts for a medical content website.
Here’s how to do it: make sure that the author details are available at the end of every blog post. That way, your readers will be able to assess whether the blog post is written by an industry expert or not. If it’s written by an expert, your blog post will receive a high score in Google rating. If not, it might turn out to be poor content.
This example shows the author’s name and biography written in a professional way:
Write long form content instead of short form content
Long form content leads to increased social shares. This is backed by Digital Marketing expert, Neil Patel’s study in which he analyzed how he successfully earned a higher number of social shares with his content that was longer than 1500 words.
This graph shows how the Facebook and Twitter posts have a direct correlation with the word count. Content longer than 1500 words gained more social shares.
The moral of the story?
Lengthy content is trending in 2020. However, poorly written content comprising of 1500+ words won’t do the trick. To ensure your website ranks higher in Google, you should write “quality content.”
Here’s what Rand Fishkin defines high-quality, long form content:
Earn featured snippets from Google
A featured snippet is a box you’ll see on the first page of Google as you type in a query. Here’s an example of a featured snippet:
If Google analyzes that a paragraph of your article or blog post answers a specific question well, it selects it and displays it on the first page as a featured snippet.
If Google chooses your content as a featured snippet, it will increase the click-through rate (CTR) of your website.
Here’s how to do it: to earn a featured snippet, write your article or blog post in a way that it answers all your readers’ questions that are related to your topic. This specific content should be available to them in just one location of the entire post.
See how it’s perfectly done in this example:
However, you need to be wary of making it overly wordy. Limited word count is the key here. Note that this featured snippet has it all – and that too in around 55 words.
Focus on SEO keywords
Keywords are the words and phrases in your content that help your potential customers find your website via Google and other search engines. A keyword-rich website will enable your website’s visitors to reach your website easily.
People are searching for products and services over the internet. They use specific words to search on Google. Those words are the keywords you should know about. If they’re searching for products or services that you already sell, you have an opportunity to attract them by incorporating the same keywords in your website’s content.
But what are those keywords your potential customers are using to search products or services you offer?
That’s where your task begins. You should conduct keyword research to know the most frequently used keywords related to your products or services. There’s Google Keyword Planner and other tools for that.
Once you’ve done the keyword research, you should incorporate the relevant keywords to your title tag, meta description, and the body of the content without overusing them.
2. Your website will survive if you get rid of webspam
As you dig deeper into the world of digital marketing, you’ll always come across latest SEO strategies popping up. That’s the trap you need to be wary of at all costs. Keep in mind that not all SEO tactics are going to help you reach the top of Google’s rankings.
Sometimes, SEO practices can be “schemey.” For instance, you may read up somewhere, “If you follow the XYZ SEO strategy, you’ll be able to create a shortcut and instantly increase your website’s rankings.”
That’s webspam, and you should never, ever get stuck in it. Though this approach will help you pay off the investment initially, it may hurt your rankings in the long run.
Black hat SEO practices
The harmful tactics that look too good in the beginning are called black hat SEO practices. These practices include content spinning, keyword stuffing, link stuffing, low quality content, over-optimized anchor text, and unnatural link building.
Implementing black hat SEO practice results in Google penalizing your website. Therefore, the best bet is to focus on producing high-quality, original, and SEO-optimized content that deserves to get higher website rankings.
Negative SEO practices: Your competitors may hurt your rankings
Internal and external links add value to any website’s SEO results, thereby, gaining a higher website ranking. However, your competitors might use this SEO technique to harm your website’s ranking. That’s when they intentionally use negative SEO tactics to degrade your website. They do this by sharing and linking spammy websites with your website. That way, you’re able to defame your website’s authority and reliability.
The good news is that you can protect your website and its rankings from your competitors’ SEO attacks. Plus, Google now encourages website owners to report the incidences of such spam as soon as they come across this.
3. Website speed means speedy sales
Do you close the website that loads slowly and visit a similar website that’s much faster?
If you said, “yes,” you’re like other internet users who do the same.
That’s because all of us hate wasting time on a website that takes ages to load! It’s only natural to skip a slow-loading website and switch to the one that loads faster. Add to that the statistic that shows that 47% of internet users expect a web page to load within 2 seconds or even less.
If your website is slow, chances are that your website’s visitors will turn to your competitors’ websites. Because of the slow website load, they might not return to your website again. This may, of course, affect Google rankings. This could also affect your sales.
So, what should you do to improve your website speed?
First, assess your website’s speed. How fast is it loading right now?
You can do this by using Google’s free PageSpeed Insights tool.
This is how it looks like:
It will show you a detailed analysis for both the desktop and mobile users. That way, you’ll be able to work on improving the page load speed for both platforms.
Once you know the speed test score of your website load time, it’s time to improve it.
Here are two of the most useful ways to do it:
- Shorten the size of the images you use on your website
- Choose a speedy server for your website
This isn’t enough, though. There are numerous other ways to ensure your website is speedy enough to attract your potential and existing customers. Implementing all of these will help you improve your website’s speed. If it scores 100/100, you’ll be sure that Google sees your website as the fastest one, and thus, you’ll see the Google rankings going in favor of your website.
4. Focusing on the click-through rate (CTR) is the norm
Google’s updated algorithm evaluates the click-through rate (CTR). It’s a percentage that shows the number of clicks your website receives from the internet users who search for a keyword or key phrase your website ranks for.
The higher your CTR is, the better it is for your website’s rankings. If your CTR is higher than all your competitors, Google will move your website up in its search engine page.
It will be a slow process so you’ll have to be patient with it. Besides, there are situations in which you’ll need to go beyond just improving your CTR because website owners can also come up with deceptive meta descriptions and title tags to increase the search results of their website. Therefore, Google looks at another thing: your website’s bounce rate.
Bounce rate refers to the number of your website’s visitors who have visited your website, but they had hit the “back” button and returned to the Google search result page.
Let’s take it this way: if 1200 people were directed to your web page by Google and all of them went back to the Google search results by hitting the “back” button, they actually bounced back. This activity shows Google that your web page is not relevant enough for your website’s visitors.
The lower your bounce rate, the better it is to increase your website’s Google rankings. So, the perfect match is to have a high click-through rate and a low bounce rate.
Want to know your CTR with respect to a particular keyword? Using Webmaster Tools will be of great help. If you know little about optimizing the CTR and bounce rate your website, you can get the help of a professional.
5. Age: The older your domain, the better
Perhaps, your competitor’s website ranks higher than yours. It may be that their website is older than yours. While ranking a site, Google looks at how old its domain is. Therefore, if your website is a few years old, there are chances that it will improve its rankings.
There’s a direct connection between older domains and higher Google rankings. Since an older website comprises of more content and backlinks, it has chances of grabbing higher traffic.
So, if you’re planning to build a new website and add a lot of high-quality content and relevant backlinks to it, you’ll probably not get higher search traffic from it as compared to websites that are older enough.
There isn’t much to do about it. You can just give your website some more time to grow and receive search traffic. But continuous improvement is the key.
6. What backlinks reveal about your website
A backlink is an external link (a link to your web page) that is linked by any other website owner in their blog post, product/service page, or any other web page. Having a backlink to your web page helps your website in terms of improving its Google rankings.
We’ve mentioned backlinks numerous times in this post. This shows how important it is to generate backlinks for your website. But we also talked about how dangerous it can be to add irrelevant, poor-quality backlinks. Google considers the number of backlinks a webpage has based on authority and relevancy.
So, how do you optimize your website with the right backlinks?
This is a common question with a simple answer: quality is the key. For instance, if you have a limited number of links, but they come from high-ranking sources such as .gov and .edu, Google will rank your website higher.
A surefire way to generate genuine backlinks to your website is to write guest posts. Writing guest posts help you prove yourself as an industry expert. Besides, you’ll be able to enhance your online presence by linking one of your web pages to the guest post you’ve written. Many blogs also post a writer’s biography within each guest post to allow a space for adding backlinks.
There are more ways to generate backlinks to your website. The more you learn about these, the better you’ll be able to implement them.
7. Internal linking: all it takes is using relevant anchor texts
Contrary to backlinking, internal linking refers to generating links within your own website. For instance, you can link one of your blog posts in another blog post.
Internal links create a connection between your web pages. This gives Google a signal that the overall content of your website has a specific structure. The web pages with the most relevant internal links indicate that the content in those web pages has higher value as compared to the web pages that don’t have internal links. Google assesses those web pages accordingly and ranks them higher.
Instead of writing a generic anchor text and hyperlinking it with the internal link, you should come up with an anchor text that is relevant to the content that has been internally linked.
8. Social shares will bring in more customers
Do social shares have a direct impact on Google rankings?
Though, this is a debatable topic, one thing is for sure: social shares lead to website traffic. This means that the increase in the number of social shares is directly linked to higher website traffic.
The more people know about your website, the more they’ll visit it. Getting more visitors to your website indicates that there are higher chances of them linking back to your website. Eventually, more links will lead to higher Google rankings.
The name of the game is to win an increased number of social shares.
So, how about asking your readers to share your blog post? Trust us. If you do a request in the call-to-action/conclusion section of your post, they are more likely to share. Also, don’t forget to include social sharing buttons to the web pages.
This isn’t all, though. There are a lot of techniques to increase social shares. You can use a few or all of them and see how it affects your Google rankings.
9. A good user experience is a surefire sign that your potential customers love your content
Undeniably, “user experience” is a broad term. That’s especially true if achieving great user experience is one of the crucial content requirements updated by Google. Since Google rankings are all about ranking a website based on how well it serves internet users with the most authentic information, user experience comes in between.
Let’s break it down to something more specific:
If your content is relevant, authoritative, and contains high-quality backlinks and internal links, it’s good to go. It will provide a remarkable user experience to your target audience. However, there are also other factors: your website should be mobile-friendly. This is especially applicable to those business owners whose customers usually shop via mobile devices.
Other factors include clean interface, intuitive navigation, speedy web pages, and no disturbing pop-ups. Incorporating all of it into your website will help you add value to it. Plus, if your website has all these elements, Google will rank your website higher.
10. You are near to achieving content perfection
Now that you know about the most crucial content requirements Google wants your website to fulfill in order to rank higher in its search engine, it’s time to step ahead and start working on improving your website’s content.
While you work hard on tailoring your content, make sure it outperforms your competitors. Besides, it’s wise to double-check the quality as well as quantity of your website’s content. Ask yourself, “Does it comply with these ten content requirements set by Google’s updated algorithm?” If you’re lagging behind, you should get the grip right now.
More website visitors will mean more customer engagement, and thus, increased sales.
We wish you all the best for your content revamp!